Civil Courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution; Unit 1 - Notes

Notes made from a combination of resources including the Nelson Thornes text book and Philip Allan revision guide.

Covers the Civil Courts and ADR option form the Legal System half of the course; Civil Courts and Appeal System, Alternatives to Civil Dispute Resolution and the Advantages and Disadvantages of each

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Civil Courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Civil Courts
Disputes between individuals, partnerships, firms or government bodies
Courts of First Instance:
Claims may be commenced and decided there
Magistrate Court:
Primarily a criminal court
Jurisdiction over family matters, excluding divorce and unpaid taxes and bills
Hears appeals from local authorities about licenses
County Court:
Governed by County Courts Act 1986
All contract claims
Tort claims up to £50,000 excluding libel tort
Undefended divorce action
Bankruptcy, tax and land law
Operates a 3 Track System:
1) Small Claim Track:
Financial value of less than £5000, or £1000 for personal injury
Straight forward
2) Fast Track:
Financial value between £5000 - £15000
Relatively simple lasting no more than 1 day with limited oral evidence
3) Multi Track:
Financial value of over £15000
Contains a complicated point of law
High Court:
3 divisions:
1) Queen's Bench Division:
The main court
Tort and contract claims
Commercial and Admiralty courts
Magistrates Court Act 1980
1. Magistrates court sets out findings of fact and lets the division
determine the question of law in dispute
2. Judicial Review
3. General oversight of inferior courts
2) Family Division:
Deals with all aspects of family matters and complex uncontested probate
matter cases (Re A)
3) Chancery Division:

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Used to deal with equity cases
Nowadays focuses on legal disputes involving a financial aspect
Probate matters, trusts, mortgages, bankruptcies company, partnership and
taxation queries
Courts of Appeal:
A party is dissatisfied with the court's decision requests that a higher court reviews the decision
Access to Justice Act 1999:
One of the involved courts must authorises it
Involves an important point or is likely to succeed
Only allowed on level up of appeal
High Court:
3 divisions:
1) Queen's Bench Division:
Judicial review reviews decisions…read more

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Judges have acquired experience of the law and legal system
Has the power to award successful party remedies and to order a party to cease an act
Only form of dispute resolution that offers appeal
Greater chance of enforcement if dispute is resolved through the court
Judges may have limited knowledge of the subject matter of the dispute
Process is slow and delays do occur (Civil Justice Review)
Due to complexity of the law, lawyers required by parties
Parties must pay fees which can run…read more

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Football Association ­ Members of the association
People Involved:
Consist of 3 people:
1 legally trained chairperson
2 lay people with expertise in the case matter
Parties are encouraged to represent themselves
Parties will attend as will any witnesses
Vary in procedure, however natural justice means both parties must be given time to prepare the
case and be given a fair hearing
1) Parties and witnesses give evidence
2) Questioning by other party, chairperson and lay people
3) Obliged to give reasons for their…read more

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The Office of Fair Trading encourage and approve many arbitration schemes set up
by trade associations to resolve consumer problems
3) Commercial Arbitration:
Arbitrator will be a member or fellow of the Institute of Arbitrators and will have
legal knowledge on the matter of dispute
People Involved:
An independent arbitrator who is an expert in the issue of dispute
Parties can name an arbitrator or a select a body to appoint one
`Chartered Institution of Arbitrators' can suggest and supply an independent arbitrator
Parties and…read more

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People Involved:
An independent mediator who organises the mediation for a mutually convenient time who doesn't
suggest solution and force settlement
Mediators may be selected from mediation bodies such as `Centre For Dispute
May be legally represented, this isn't however promoted
Witnesses are rarely involved
1) Takes place in a private and neutral setting
2) Each party puts forward it's position, followed by a private meeting with the mediator and
each party in turn
3) Agreement becomes legally binding if the parties agree…read more

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Conciliator remains neutral, but can suggest terms of settlement and
comment on of either parties terms
3) If the parties reach an agreement if becomes legally binding if the parties agree and
becomes enforceable in civil law
4) If no agreement is reached the matter may be taken to court or tribunal
Conciliator is independent from the parties and neutral but still has the power and ability to
suggest and advice on offers made
Conciliator has expert knowledge and experience in the area of dispute…read more


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